May 7, 2012
The Day's Recap Vs. The Phillies: May 7
And closer Jonathan Papelbon finally got to pitch in a tie game.
None of the above was good news for the Phillies, who watched a rookie launch his first major-league hit into the right-field seats off Papelbon in the top of the ninth inning, giving the New York Mets a 5-2 victory.
Jordany Valdespin, called up earlier in the day to replace an injured Ruben Tejada, hit the three-run shot, and before it landed in the seats a lot of Phillies fans were out of their seats and heading for the exits at Citizens Bank Park.
When the top of the order went down in order in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies were booed as they left the field.
This was Halladay's first start since one of the most un-Doc-like starts of the two-time Cy Young Award winner's career.
The last time we saw Halladay, he was leaving the game an overheated mess after squandering a 6-0 lead and allowing eight runs for just the fifth time in 358 career starts. Lack of velocity had become a real concern after that wild night in Atlanta, and the Phillies had to be at least a little curious to see what Halladay would bring to the mound against the Mets.
"I'm always interested to see Roy pitch," manager Charlie Manuel said before the game. "If Roy pitches a Roy game, we're going to have a chance to win the game, and on certain nights when he's real good he's got a good chance to throw a shutout."
The man on the mound against the Mets definitely bore a much stronger resemblance to the Halladay the world has become accustomed to watching over the last decade, but he still had to deal with more frustration.
Clinging to a 2-0 lead as he went to the mound in the sixth, Halladay retired catcher Josh Thole and pinch-hitter Scott Hairston to start the inning. After leadoff man Andres Torres looked at two called strikes, Halladay was one strike away from his fifth perfect inning of the evening.
Instead, he walked Torres and opened the door for disaster.
With shortstop Jimmy Rollins moving to cover second base on a steal attempt by Torres, rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis singled into the vacated hole.
David Wright followed with a two-run double on a 1-1 change-up from Halladay. The ball rolled over the bag at third base and caromed into shallow left field. By the time John Mayberry Jr. got to it, Nieuwenhuis was rounding third and on his way home with the tying run.
Rollins opened the first with a double to right-center field and took third base when Torres mishandled the ball. Mayberry, who made two sensational defensive plays in left field, hit a liner to center field for a sacrifice fly.